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College Towns and Real Estate Investment: Where to Look First

Colleges across the country are not always located in big metropolitan cities, as a large majority of them are in smaller, secondary cities. Knowing this, Hire a Helper, a hybrid moving company, completed a study of college towns trying to locate the hottest markets for real estate potential. 

Key findings from the report include: 

  • The average price of a home in a college town in 2023 is $377,800, 7% lower than the national average of ($406,200), according to Redfin 
  • Homes in college towns have appreciated by 4% in the last 12 months, compared to a 1.6% growth rate in home prices across the United States  
  • The best college town for real estate investment is Indiana, Pennsylvania due to relatively low home prices ($160k), their solid projected growth (+12%), and potentially high rental income 
  • Gary, Indiana is the least expensive college town in the United States with an average home costing around $71,000 in 2023 
  • Among college towns, Athens, Georgia is the hardest real estate market to get into, with an average home price of $355,400 and 64 new listings over 100 home sales 

As the average cost of room and board continues to increase (now averaging some $12,500 per year at four-year colleges), many parents are choosing to buy a house as a cheaper housing option that also acts as an investment. 

McPherson, Kansas is in second place, with house prices slightly higher ($179,800) and recent growth slightly slower (14% year-over-year). Two more towns from Kansas made our top 10—Winfield, Kansas (#5), and Atchison, Kansas (#10), both with a median home price of around $150,00 and a healthy supply of homes for sale. 

Geographically, the 10 highest-ranked towns stretch across the eastern part of the US. The furthest south is Brownwood, Texas (#3) where homes are expected to appreciate 20% over the next five years. In the north, there’s Williamsport, Pennsylvania (#6), where a typical home costs $136,800. 

Click here to view the report in its entirety. 

About Author: Kyle G. Horst

Kyle G. Horst is a reporter for DS News and MReport. A graduate of the University of Texas at Tyler, he has worked for a number of daily, weekly, and monthly publications in South Dakota and Texas. With more than 10 years of experience in community journalism, he has won a number of state, national, and international awards for his writing and photography including best newspaper design by the Associated Press Managing Editors Group and the international iPhone photographer of the year by the iPhone Photography Awards. He most recently worked as editor of Community Impact Newspaper covering a number of Dallas-Ft. Worth communities on a hyperlocal level. Contact Kyle G. at [email protected].

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